Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Chimpanzees for Tea

Tea, Anyone?

One day Vincent’s mother asks him to go to the store to pick up a short list of grocery items for her ~ “a bunch of carrots, a box of rice, some China tea, a big firm pear, and a tin of peas.” Her last request is that he “hurry home for tea.” Vincent willingly obliges, and is off on an adventure. On the way, a gust of wind blows the list out of his hand and he suddenly needs to rely on his memory to get the things his mother has asked for. He’s doing okay until he gets distracted by a “hello” from a neighbor, after which the tin of peas becomes a trapeze in his recollection. Vincent continues to get sidetracked, and repeats the list several times until the pear is a furry bear, the tea is chimpanzees, the box of rice is a box of mice, and that bunch of carrots is, well, you guessed it ~ a lively bunch of parrots!

With each reading of this wonderful book, written and illustrated by Jo Empson, my storytime crowds have been absolutely captivated by the whimsical and energetic images, and they love trying to help Vincent recall the correct list so he can get home to his mum for tea. Audience participation is the name of the game, and children can barely resist the opportunity to set Vincent straight by remembering and then calling out the correct items from his list, all the while wishing they could go on a shopping trip like his. Eventually he does arrive back at home, with all of his new friends in tow. His mother is surprised and overwhelmed, to say the least, but has second thoughts when the animals politely serve tea to her.

The playful cover of this book alone is enough to pique anyone’s interest, and the story delivers solidly. The rhythmic repetition of parts of the text serve to bolster the story line and engage listeners from the first page to the last. Give yourself a treat, and pick up Chimpanzees for Tea. It’s fun, and funny, and definitely worth your time!

Guest post by Bridget W.

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